Out in the west Texas town …

I’m sorry I’ve been so remiss in posting recently: we’ve been away. Before that I had carpal tunnel syndrome and couldn’t key stuff in very much. But I’m back home now and I have lots to talk about: perversely, I’m going to go backwards and post about the last thing first, which was El Paso in west Texas.

I have always loved story songs, and for that matter story poems too. I remember singing ‘The Golden Vanity’ at school; I also remember my mother reciting the whole of ‘The Lady of Shalott’ (with gestures) which she had learned at school. Both tragic, as story poems and songs so often are – or at any rate, the ones I have loved so often seem to be.

So it should be no surprise to anyone, least of all to me, that I have always had a very soft spot for Marty Robbins’ song, ‘El Paso’. I know all the words and sing them with enthusiasm, always taking great pleasure in the verse that goes: Out of the back door of Rosa’s I ran/ Out where the horses were tied/ I caught a good one/It looked like it could run …/ (Which must be a strong candidate for an unusual rhyming competition, I’d think.)

But if you don’t know the song then you’ll not know that Rosa’s Cantina is the focus of the tragedy that the song records – and recently I also discovered that Rosa’s Cantina is a real place! And it’s in El Paso! And Marty Robbins wrote the song about that very place! So when I knew we were going to El Paso (for a family wedding, this last weekend) I also knew that nothing could keep me from visiting it. And now that I have, I recommend it unreservedly.

We went there straight after the formality of the wedding which accounts for the clothes that Bruce and I are wearing in this photo: Cheryl, who came with us, probably looks this delightfully smart and pulled-together all the time. And I can assure you: the regular customers were deeply impressed. It didn’t stop ‘em from rolling up to our side of the bar to offer a range of greetings, and I wouldn’t have wanted to miss any of those greetings. Best of all, the juke box plays ‘El Paso’ on a five-song repeat, and after one of my new best friends had fiddled with it a bit it played ‘El Paso’ non-stop, no matter what other songs had been entered into its memory. One of the less effusive customers grew maddened by the song and left, or perhaps he just passed out and crumpled to the floor, I can’t be sure. It was dark in there.

We had a ball, heard some fine stories, and left in good order: not much more can be asked or expected of any bar.

So here are we, outside the pilgrimage site.

And here is Marty Robbins singing the song. My mum would have sung it with more gestures, but you can’t have everything.

8 Responses to “Out in the west Texas town …”

  1. Mary Tapissier Says:

    How completely wonderful and very you! Glad you made it to he wedding and got home safely. Just enjoying our last olive and applewood fire for a while before flying back to London tomorrow with new oil!

  2. admin Says:

    Thanks Mary – I’m just sorry I didn’t have time to stay on and learn the Texas two-step.

  3. Lucille Says:

    Were you there for the happy hour for domestics sampling the mix beverages? You look pretty happy! Love the outfit, what little I can see by squinting at it. Slightly squiffy angle on that photo.

  4. admin Says:

    And the slightly squiffy angle of photo is the result of having one of my new best friends, somewhat over any sane margarita capacity, taking the photo. I could have got iPhoto to straighten it but I think it adds to the texture of the occasion. (And I don’t think Rosa’s Cantina has one particular happy hour. I think they have ‘em 24/7.)

  5. Lucille Says:

    Tues – Thurs 2-7pm according to that there noticeboard. I used to like margaritas – salt and lime on the rim wasn’t it? We must have one next time we meet.

  6. admin Says:

    Oh good grief, the noticeboard! You are absolutely right. We were there on a Saturday though, and much as I admired my companions I don’t think any one of them would have made a good domestic.

  7. Helen McKinlay Says:

    I love this song Belinda! Great story too. Thanks for sharing!

  8. admin Says:

    Thanks a bundle, Helen – so glad you liked it.

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